Wednesday, July 04, 2007

in memory ...

Tommorrow we will celebrate my grandmother's life. Although my relationship with my grandmother was often complicated, as a child she filled me with wonder. Her love of the world around her influenced every aspect of who I am. These are the words I will share about my grandmother ...

Sometimes when you split open a rock you discover a magical world inside. A rainbow of colors reflecting off the crystals hidden deep within the earthy crust. My grandmother knew this secret about rocks and my grandmother knew this secret about people. Behind every unassuming crust my grandmother believed something wonderful existed and she spent her life splitting the outer shell to find the crystals inside.

It is hard for most of us to recognize the beauty in front of us. Not so for my grandmother. Throughout my childhood each visit was market by a walk in the woods. There she taught me to see the trees through the forest. I learned how to spot a shooting star among a pile of pine needles and when the wild dogwood would show his fleeting blossoms. It was there alongside the river where my grandmother was the most beautiful. Her spirit glowed and she reflected the wonderment of everything she saw.

On visits when it was either too cold or too wet to go to the woods my grandmother and I would sit at the piano. She would teach me how to roll my knuckles over the black keys to play a simple song and eventually I would bring my lesson books to play for her. Always our time would end with the song Puff the Magic Dragon. I loved the song but hated it when Jackie Horner grew up.

Eventually I too grew up. And, although our time together changed the experiences shared and lessons learned stayed with me.

On Saturday my husband and I headed out to the woods with our dog. It was nearly noon by the time we reached the trail head and although the clouds had parted from the evening's storm, the air was still heavy with the remnants of the summer rain. Test and Dave ran ahead and soon I found myself alone on the path and headed down toward the river. Trillium covered the forest floor and patches of daisies reached toward the summer sun. I could hear Test running ahead, finding a shallow pool and plunging in in search of her stick. Among the trees and with my dog splashing in the distance my grandmother's rock split open. All the treasures hidden within my grandmother were there for me to see.

I could hear the music as it flowed from her fingers and her voice, warm and sweet as she told me stories of the Indian princess locked forever on Mt. Shasta. I could taste her sugar cookies as they dissolved on my tongue, so thin and delicate you could see the Christmas lights shine through as you held them up to your mouth. I could feel her hand wrapped gently around mine as together we guided the paint from the end of the brush into a flower. I could see the blue of her eyes reflecting off of mine and then up into the sky above us. Her spirit glowed and the wonderment of everything she was reflected off of everything I saw.

Many many moons ago, as my grandmother would tell it, our ancestors walked the paths connecting the mountains that surround us. Their spirits now blow in the wind and guide us as we walk along our life's path. Many many moons from now my grandmothers spirit will continue to flow through these mountains. Joined with her ancestors she will seek to show us that treasures that lie just beneath the crust.

My grandmother saw the beauty within each of us. Celebrate this beauty in yourself, seek it out in others, recognize it in the animals, hear it in the rustling of the trees and imagine it waiting to be discovered just beneath the earthy crust of the rocks you pass by.